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Yemen’s al-Qaida threatens US hostage in new video

Yemen’s al-Qaida threatens US hostage in new video
The hostage, identified as 33-year-old Luke Somers, an American photojournalist born in Britain, is featured for the first time in the video, posted on the al-Qaida offshoot’s Twitter account and first reported by SITE Intelligence Group, which monitors militant sites.

The video mimicked some of those used by al-Qaida rivals from the Islamic State group, which has beheaded several American and British hostages in the aftermath of a summer blitz that captured much of Iraq and Syria. The IS fighters have at times battled al-Qaida and prompted defections among their rivals.

Somers was kidnapped in September 2013 from a street in the Yemeni capital, Sanaa, where he had worked as a photojournalist for the Yemen Times. Since his capture, Yemeni journalists have been holding sit-ins in Sanaa to press the government to seek his release.

Somers was likely among a group of hostages who were the objective of a joint rescue mission by US operation forces and Yemeni troops last month that freed eight captives in a remote corner of Yemen’s Hadramawt province.

At the time, a Yemeni official said the mission, carried out in a vast desert area dotted with dunes called Hagr al-Saiaar, an al-Qaida safe haven not far from the Saudi border, failed to liberate five others, including an American journalist and a Briton who were moved elsewhere by their al-Qaida captors days before the raid. The American was not identified by name and Yemen did not officially confirm the participation of US commandos in the rescue mission - a rare instance of US forces intervening on the ground in Yemen.
Agencies

Agencies

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